Aid to the Church in Need (ACN)
Invitation to the World Day of Prayer for Peace in Iraq
Eva-Maria Kolmann, ACN International
Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin
The international Catholic pastoral charity “Aid to the Church in Need” is inviting people from the whole world to take part in a Day of Prayer for Peace in Iraq, which is scheduled for 6 August, the Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord.
Together with the Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako the charity is using this occasion to call on “all people of good will” to “combine our voices and our hearts before the Lord in order to ask for peace,” Patriarch Sako writes in his message for the global day of Prayer.
We recall the population’s surprise by the latest developments, to learn of the proclamation of an Islamic state and the announcement made to all Christians, clearly asking them to convert to Islam our to pay the jizia (a tax which must be paid by all non-Muslims in order to live on Islamic soil) without specifying an exact amount.
The letter “n” written in arab on the walls of all Christian homes, signifies “Nazareen” (Christian). The only alternative then left for Christians was to leave their town and their houses taking only their clothes on their backs. We would also add that the same was done with the letter “R” on the front of Shiite homes meaning “Rwadfidh” or (protestant, ‘those who reject’).
Joining together with our suffering brothers and sisters
The source of inspiration for this initiative had been the call of the Holy Father to stop the violence in Iraq, Johannes von Heeremann, the International President of “Aid to the Church in Need”, explained: “Last Sunday at the Angelus, Pope Francis called out to all mankind ‘Please stop! I ask you with all my heart, it’s time to stop. Stop, please!’ This urgent appeal prompted us to invite not only Christians, but also the faithful of other religions, and in particular various Muslim communities, who are also suffering very much from the war, to join in a prayer for peace which encompasses the whole world. In view of such suffering as we are forced to watch in Iraq today, it is time to join together with our suffering brothers and sisters and to show the world that we have not abandoned them.”
Patriarch Sako, who has also formulated the prayer for this initiative, wrote in his message: “The Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord is a feast of the transformation of hearts and minds in the encounter with the light and love of God for mankind. May the Light of Tabor, through our proximity, fill the hearts of all those suffering with comfort and hope. May the message of Tabor working through our prayers move those governing this country to sacrifice their personal interests for the general good.”
Please take note that ACN is currently working on a way to send material assistance to Iraqi refugees.
PRAYER FOR THE IRAQI PEOPLE
the plight of our country
is deep and the suffering of the Christians
is heavy and frightening us,
therefore we ask you Lord
to assign our lives,
grant us patience and courage
to continue to witness our Christian values
with trust and hope.
Lord, peace is base of any life;
give us peace and stability
to live with each other without fear, anxiety,
with dignity and joy, glory to you forever.
Msgr. Louis Raphael I Sako
[Chaldean Catholic Patriarch]